Have mat, will travel. Five essential oils to support your yoga practice wherever your travels take you!

The foundation of your yoga practice goes with you everywhere! We are on the brink of summertime where we have many opportunities to be spontaneous.  The challenges of self-care can be quelled through taking your practice with you wherever you go.  Whether you practice at home or on the road, refining your own practice is the foundation of self-study.  Yoga begins with awareness of self, from listening to the subtle messages of your body, to noticing your habits and reactions to your environment, both people and situations. 

When yogis focus on their practice there are many facets, 8 limbs actually, and the sister science, Ayurveda, all of which  determine the available yogic menu items for practice on a given day. These 8 limbs are:

  • Yamas (self regulation and self observation)
  • Niyamas (self-discipline and self-commitment)
  • Asana (postures)
  • Pranayama (breathwork)
  • Pratyhara (sense withdrawal)
  • Dharana (concentration)
  • Dhyana (meditation)  
  • Samahdi (spiritual enlightenment)

 Ayurveda, the preventative wellness practice of yoga is where we have direction on use of plants and herbs. The deeper your practice, the closer you are to the last stage, a place where your mind, body and spirit are fulfilled along the path of  your spiritual journey.  The joys of the journey are immeasurable and affect body mind and spirit.  Using your 5 senses enhances the experiences of your practice. Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to take that to an exponential level, as long as you use pure, essential oils.  Here are a few ways to take your practice with you anywhere you go and suggestions on how to use Essential Oils to deepen your practice:

1.  Lavender is a very versatile essential oil and has been called the "Swiss army knife" of essential oils, due to its multi-faceted applications, from easing sunburns and bug bites, distressing tired skin, aiding diaper rash and earaches, and calming the nervous system. Use lavender before your "sleep easy" night time yoga sequence (see Essential Yoga Practice book) to ensure a good night's rest, or during any meditation practice.

2.  Peppermint essential oil: will help soothe tension, improve focus and concentration, repel bugs, freshen breath, and cool the skin when used in body spray.

3.  Melaleuca, Tea tree oil: this handy essential oil is very earthy and grounding. In this season where we are more prone to perspire because of the heat, Melaleuca will help counter the build up of mold. Try a few drops on a cotton ball and a place in tennis shoes overnight, or on the dryer ball for your laundry cycle, or in the homemade spray with lavender, to clean and refresh your yoga mat!. 

4.  Lemon essential oil: try using lemon essential oil in homemade cleaners. It is refreshing, uplifting, and very inexpensive. Please remember that all citrus oils increase skin photosensitivity for about 12 hours, so take care not to spray it on the body before exposing yourself to sunlight. 

5.  Frankincense is the king of all essential oils, as it supports the breathy functioning of all body systems. From its ancient history it has been highly regarded and valued. A bottle of pure frankincense may be a bit pricey, but the myriad of potential wellness effects are worth the splurge. 

Take this essential set of oils with you to support your practice wherever you go.  Need a little help? Treat yourself to a copy of Essential Yoga Practice DVD from www.essentialyogapractice.com

Check out the six sequences and the introduction on essential oils.  

Enjoy your practice, Namaste! 

Yogic Nurturing Practices for Self-Care

Despite the change of the seasons and the unpredictable weather, we humans have great potential for graceful adaptation to change.  Change imposes a disruption of our rhythms and schedules and this brings compounding stress.  Recognizing that a consistent daily regimen of self care is important for resilience, we get better at using our awareness of disruption to find the “new normals” and quickly find balance with the myriad of choices we can make to act on the side of prevention and still remain open and flexible to how we can enjoy life!

When we stop to make choices geared at self care, we find a reservoir of energy and love to offer those around us.  That interconnectedness returns more nurturing support back to us as well, and as our spirit soars, we are able to enjoy every facet of life. 

Ayurveda offers us direction for starting our day with dinacharya, our daily self care practices. Tuning into the awareness of your body's energy and needs today is what drives the decisions of taking care of body, mind and spirit. See blog post on dinacharya ___Lorie show link_______ 

 

Celebrating Our Mothers

As we are celebrating our Mothers this week, it’s important to recognize that the maternal bond is incredibly special and nurturing when it is intact and thriving, yet can be painful and disappointing when it has fallen short of expectations. Sometimes there is miscommunication that gets in our way, sometimes it’s a block having to do with giving or receiving love, sometimes there are things much more grievous. The foundation of our maternal relationships remind us that our ultimate stewardship is that of caring for children and thus the deep gratitude for our mothers and nurturers reflects that. 

Let us remember that we can celebrate many mothers this week…we all descend from a long line of women whose DNA we share and/or whose traditions have been passed down to us in some form. We are also all nurtured by mother earth…think of the rich soil beneath your feet to ground you and help you feel a sure foundation, the plants that exist to serve us, the water that brings us life.

Myrrh essential oil has been nicknamed the oil of Mother Earth. It has rich chemical constituents that can support healthy emotions and cognitive processing especially about the maternal relationships in our lives. It is an oil that can help ground and center us (as all tree oils do), it actually comes forth to support the wellness of the tree, and on so many levels can do the same for us. Historically it has been recognized as so precious that it equaled gold in value and weight.

If you are wanting gentle support as you work towards forgiveness and/or strengthening your bond with your mother, apply some myrrh over your heart and breathe in to support your journey in this regard. Since myrrh has a unique deep aroma, it can also be nice to pair it with a higher note such as a citrus or floral essential oil for interest. 

So let us remember and honor the women in our lives who have nurtured us, handed down traditions that help connect us to where we came from, or who have provided a situation in which we had to really grow and stretch. These women ultimately gave us gifts of strength and perseverance to make us the strong and independent individuals we are today. There is always a gift that comes from overcoming adversity; if this is your reality, take some time to ponder the gifts that you have received. Dig your toes into the earth and celebrate your nurturers this beautiful Mother’s Day week. 

Mother's Day

This month honors the mother, the earth, the Creator, and the Divine feminine in all of us. Let us resolve to support and nurture new life: a newborn baby, a new friend, an innovative idea, or a great opportunity. Let us love deeply and unconditionally, and raise the vibration of our consciousness and of humanity. Here are five simple practices to honor the Divine feminine in you:

1. Get in touch with Mother Earth – get out in nature, do yoga in your bare feet and ground into the earth, garden, hike, practice pranayama and meditation, while breathing fresh air!

2. Build a small alter to honor those who nurture you in your faith practice. Include symbolism like a cross, menorah or decorative verses from the Koran. Include pictures of your family and significant figures who help guide your spiritual journey. Find objects that speak to you to complete that sacred space: candles, seashells, rocks, incense or a diffuser for aromatherapy.

3. Practice self care with a daily regimen: take time to meditate, enjoy a long bath with aromatherapy, nurture your skin, eat well and treat yourself to something that you crave now and then, we are only human!

4. Celebrate beauty all around you. Once you start looking for it, beauty abounds in nature and in people. You will find yourself moving back to gratitude for creation, in all aspects, from the One who created you, to the mothers in your life, to the joys of nurturing others and for the capacity to be creative in your life.

5. Slow down to go deeper: in meditation, in your yoga practice, in your conversations, and in prayer. Practice being present and savor the moments that that unfold to show you how life is precious.

Smelling Good

Smell or scent can trigger the memory instantly transporting back in time. It can be used to affect how we want to feel too.  So, wearing a scent or using aromatherapy can be used to eliminate and/or mask a smell or decide which ones we want to use and enjoy.  If you take time to practice awareness of scents around you, the olfactory process heightens.   Consider closing your eyes and taking in your surroundings usingyour sense of smell.  What stands out to you and is it pleasant?  Use this evaluation idea to help you understand the fragrance notes that you enjoy and ones that either disagree or don’t do anything for you.

Once you are more aware of what is grounding, relaxing, energizing, …to you, then consider affecting your emotional wellbeing and therefore your energy, outlook, immunity, and resilience.  Consider nurturing yourself with an arsenal of a few bottles of essential oils. If you want ideas, message us.

Next, do a scent detox.  Notice all the products in your day that provide fragrance and do some detective work.  Do they have artificial fragrances in them, and if so how can you begin to eliminate them so that you decrease and hopefully diminish toxic load?  This can help reset your sense of smell and therefore make it more efficient.

Then reintroduce the scents you want, and use them to make your cleaning products not just to use as aromatherapy.  Get to know their benefits both as single oils and their exponential benefits when blended with other oils.  From time to time change it up – you wouldn’t want to always eat the same meals, right? Explore and allow you body and mind to enjoy the many benefits of a variety of essential oils.  Feel and see the profound effects on your life, physically, emotionally and spiritually!

10 Spring Cleaning Tips for this Kapha Dosha Season

Springtime is emerging with color and smells, warming sunshine and nurturing rains,…along with the transitions that challenge our seasonal adjustments. Time change and alternating hot/cold days, pollen and mold, all present need for constant adjustment that do affect us, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Ayurveda and yoga offer us an arsenal of both proactive and defensive practices to ensure that we enjoy the renewal opportunities of Springtime, unhindered by the lurking hurdles.

Yoga teaches us to reflect inward and tune into our body’s messages while the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda leads us to adjust and establish balance for all doshas using the many gifts of the earth, especially the plant life, to include herbs and essential oils. As all beings are one with nature, we all have a little of each dosha/constitution in our makeup, to include all five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. The balanced amount of each type: Vata, Pitta and Kapha are unique to each person and are determined at the time of conception. Whenever there is a shift or transition in our life, there is a challenge to our balanced constitution, and this includes seasonal transitions. Furthermore, each season is associated with a different dosha, which means that the conditions of that season can lend themselves to both advantages and equally pose challenges.

Springtime is Kapha season! Kapha dosha is made up of earth and water elements, and spring is governed by kapha dosha whose qualities are: heavy, dense, wet and cool. This is because these qualities are increasing this time of the year, as the wind transitions the season, the snows melt, the rain comes... and this poses a potential imbalance for Kapha dosha for all of us.

When in balance, Kapha dosha builds strength, immunity, protection, provides lubrication (of joints) and provides sufficient mucous to protect membranes. When out of balance, excess Kapha dosha causes fluid retention, excess mucous buildup (think colds, allergies and asthma) watery eyes, sneezing, and the decreased energy of the body leaves one feeling dull, sluggish, depressed and lethargic. When any imbalances are unchecked, there is a buildup of ama or toxicity and this is both physical and emotional. Therefore Springtime is the ideal time for a detox, for all of us!

There are many “cleanses” out there to detoxify the gut and one has to be proactive in deciding the depth and length of the cleanse, and this varies with the amount of time necessary vs the time available to each of us and ourunique needs. If you have opportunity, seek out the help of an Ayurvedic practicioner, a nutritionist, or your doctor.

Here are some suggestions from Ayurvedic practice that are useful for all:

1. Incorporate more warming spices to your diet: Black Pepper, Cayenne,Cinnamon, Ginger, Mustard seed, and Turmeric

2. Use warming aromatherapy: Black Pepper and Wild Orange combination,Cinnamon and Cardamom combination, Ginger, Lemon and White Fir

3. Drink plenty of water – consider setting aside a month to incorporate a very gentle cleanse of one drop of lemon or any citrus oil in your day, as this is a very gentle cleanse for the digestive system.

4. Move your body – Kapha types need more stimulation, especially this time of year! In your yoga practice, add more sun salutations, add a little flow to standing poses, incorporate deep twisting to flush out the organs and breathe deeply. Increasing circulation will remove toxins.

5. Enjoy daily massage, starting with dry-brushing (toward the heart) before showering and then use sesame or coconut oil blended with eucalyptus, white fir or rosemary to nurture the skin, boost circulation and add a little aromatherapy too! Message us for more information about essential oils.

6. Minimize the following foods: Dairy, fried foods, refined sugars, processed foods, salty foods.

7. Use Pranayama to fortify the respiratory system: Breath of Fire will strengthen the cardio-respiratory system and stoke the digestive fire, agni while Alternate Nostril breathing brings balance to the right and left sides of the brain. Less stress on the nervous system translates to less stress on the body.

8. Use a Neti Pot – this is a great tool for flushing the sinuses and boosting immunity.

9. Cultivate a meditation practice – there are so many styles of meditation and early morning is an ideal time to incorporate this opportunity to quiet the mind and help with emotional wellbeing. Whether you use mantra, breath or guided meditation, experiment and enjoy building this part of your daily practices, your dinacharya.

10. Use all your senses to take in the beauty of the season. Nature teaches us so many lessons to include that everything takes time, and the benefits of consistency is the fruit of the labor! For more, get your copy of Essential Yoga Practice: Your Guide to the New Yoga Experience with Essential Oils.

12 ways to Celebrate Earth Day, Celebrate Life!

The word “earth” brings many thoughts to mind.  In all faith practices we hear that God gives us what we need in our bodies and on this earth, to heal ourselves.  That is rather powerful and puts us in a position of great responsibility, not just to take care of our body, a temple, a vehicle for the soul to live the purpose of our life, our dharma but to be stewards of this earth, while we do so.

Where do we start?  With gratitude first. According to Ayurvedic tradition, we should wake before or with the Sun and recognize the opportunities of the day, to offer our hands in service, to offer our gifts.  Our morning rituals include self care and vary slightly with regard to constitution.  How we support the optimal way our body functions includes recognizing that both movement and food is our medicine.   (For more on daily practices for your constitution, see Essential Yoga Practice).  How we care for Mother Earth can be small steps of care for ourselves and our environment and they have a ripple effect on ensuring life for the children of our future and for all life that shares our planet.  Here are ways we can collaborate to care for our earth and our well being:

1. Recycle – the preservation of our planet begins with how we minimize our footprint in our immediate space.
2. Get involved in community efforts to ensure clean water and minimize pollution.
3. Support laws to protect the environment.
4. Find ways to serve those less fortunate with providing clean water and good nutrition.
5. Get out in nature daily – this is known to improve mood!
6. Plant a garden – include herbs and use them in your cooking
7. Put your hands in the soil and feet on the ground – the probiotic benefits are found here too.
8. Plant a tree
9. Get out and exercise in fresh air and sunshine
10. Practice yoga outside when possible – your practice will be inspired by what is around you, follow your intuition and enjoy your practice of asana, meditation and pranayama outside.
11. Bring the outside in – with plants in your home to help with the O2/CO2 exchange, with using fresh herbs and essential oils for aromatherapy, you are tapping into the how nature helps with preventative wellness practices.
12. Eat fresh foods daily, keeping a diet that aligns with your dosha, your constitution,… and keep coming back to gratitude

Celebrating Earth Day is really about Celebrating Life!  We just have to find and offer the right ingredients and situations.  The answers lie in what God gives us through gifts of the earth.  Happy Earth Day from Essential Yoga Practice!

It’s the last week to register for April’s Yoga Sangha!

We are SO excited to connect with you during our 2-week Yoga Sangha that starts 1 week from today – this is where you’ll learn step-by-step how to incorporate essential oils into your yoga practice. Every day we’ll have a specific focus and a variety of instructional videos and links to provide greater clarity on your journey. There is relevant information for you no matter where you’re starting out – new to oils, new to yoga…or an expert in either.

The community that you’ll plug into with Essential Yoga Sangha will provide value during the sangha as we all share tips, strategies and masterminding – and we anticipate it will provide much value in the future as we stay connected.

Best of all, if you are a yoga instructor and would like to become an expert at sharing the art of pairing yoga and essential oils with your students, Essential Yoga Sangha is your first step. Learn to use information in Essential Yoga Practice to help your students greatly benefit in their yoga practice and other areas of their life. 

Yoga Alliance registered teachers will receive Continuing Education credits by participating in the Sangha!  Email us for more information at essentialyogapractice@gmail.com! 

For more information and to register, CLICK HERE  Registration ends April 15th at 8pm EDT. See you there!

Mind your mantras. Do your practice.

Mantras are powerful. Why? Because words are powerful!

As human beings, we have the ability to communicate and articulate complex ideas, feelings, hopes and dreams.  Through language we get to connect to our world, by lending our voice and sharing who we are.  Language is an opportunity to learn from others while offering our knowledge too.  The ideal of feeling connected to our world, to feeling like we belong, has many facets and language can be a polished side of that gem.  Words define our beliefs, and therefore our behaviors.   Our communication skills can shape our future, define our obligations, frame our reputation and structure our thoughts, especially the words that we say often.    

In the practice of yoga, we have mantras, words that are said with repetition,  used in meditation, and recited for many reasons:

a.  They are a one pointed focus to help the mind quiet

b.  They might be melodious, a form of sound healing

c.  They align with slow deep breathing

d.  Their meaning is inspiring

e.  They help drive a desired outcome or encourage a desired behavior

f.  They direct our faith practice and allow us to grow spiritually

Thus, we should be thoughtful and intentional in choosing our words carefully.  If you are using a mantra for personal growth, use words that will help you nurture your best self, use words that will shape how you show up for life, and take your place in the world.  Use your mantras, use your voice, share who you are and watch the great interplay in all your circles.

Some of my favorite mantras (and my students have heard them often) :  “You are stronger than you think!” “This is more than it seems.”  “Peace.”

Consider adding aromatherapy to your daily meditation and notice the deeper connection to the emotions connected to your mantras.  Refer to your Essential Yoga Practice book to discover essential oils and aromatherapy ideas recommended for grounding, energizing, motivating, and quieting, as well as asana practice to support these emotions.  Add your own mantras; personalize your practice!  

To join us for more in-depth training, sign up for our “Yoga Shanghai,” a 2 week on-line training beginning April 17, in how to blend two ancient practices, Yoga and Aromatherapy. Yoga Alliance teachers will receive credit. Prerequisite is to have an Essential Yoga Practice book.  Order yours on Amazon or at Oil Life or Aromatools now!  

Yoga Mat Cleansing Spray

“Nature’s new year,” spring time is here to remind us to prepare for the new season by clearing out clutter, congestion, and any lurking hinderances to good health and happiness. The Ayurvedic focus for spring is to start out feeling vibrant and new.  See last week's blogpost for 10 Spring Cleaning Tips. This week we offer you a great refreshing Yoga Mat Spray recipe, to keep germs at bay and to have aromatherapy right from the surface that supports your practice. 

Yoga mats are porous surfaces, and we should be concerned with the cleanliness of this surface that much of our skin comes into contact with, whether we practice daily or occasionally, whether we use the gym/studio mat or have our own. The porous surfaces are great breeding quarters for mold and mildew, viruses and bacteria. Keeping germs at bay can be an easy part of your yoga asana regimen, before and/or after your practice, using a nontoxic homemade yoga mat spray with pure essential oils.  

DIY Yoga Mat Spray:  
In a 16 oz glass spray bottle, combine:

  • 1 1/3 c distilled water
  • 2/3 cup vinegar
  • 10 drops lavender
  • 10 drops Melaluca(tea tree oil)

Shake well and spray on the surface of your mat – use a clean rag to wipe down the mat.  Allow time for the mat to air dry.  Enjoy a clean, fresh smelling mat, and note the energy of your practice afterwards! 

Seasonal cleansing allows us to renew our outlookwhile clearing our system of imbalances and toxins.  We can enjoy the new season with improved habits that include attention and awareness to all aspects of wellness.  

Are you ready to feel vibrant and renewed?  Want more yoga and aromatherapy tips like this one?  Sign up to join our yoga and aromatherapy training, “Yoga Sangha’”.  Like, comment and share to be eligible for this month’s giveaway, a bottle of Lemon essential oil. Access pure essential oils here.